Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Lennie Little-White | It's not the gun, stupid

Published:Tuesday | January 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Lennie Little-White
Police personnel discuss notes at a crime scene in Spanish Town where five persons were shot, one fatally, on Wednesday, September 13.
Undertakers remove a from a murder scene along Windward Road in Kingston.

Murder and mayhem have meandered across Jamaica like the hopscotch game we played as kids. Meanwhile, the police, politicians, and the public are being swallowed up by a quicksand of fear that permeates the land. The bark of the gun ricochets daily in our communities. This begs the question - when will we get back to solid ground when the gun is no longer the primary instrument of death?

Let us not fool ourselves to believe that there were days when blood did not flow in the streets, in the cane fields or even in the great house. If we use the Bible as one bookend, there is ample evidence of man's inhumanity to man. Lest we forget, Cain murdered his brother Abel. We might be able to control or lessen it, but we will never eliminate the global phenomenon of murder and crime.

Let us use the Ten Commandments as our point of reference. Exodus 20:13 states: "Thou shalt not kill". Simply put, murder was never an abstract construct, or it would not have deserved its place among the Ten Commandments. I do not think that today's production line of murders that we have grown to accept in Jamaica was ever envisioned when Moses received the Word.

Anyone who has an agricultural background knows that when a field of crops become infested by pests, the only guaranteed solution is to burn, destroy, and replant. Insecticides might help or slow the demise, but the side effects can be cancerous.


This country now has a moral dilemma - do we search for and destroy the gunmen and their gang leaders, and receive worldwide condemnation from the moralists on high ground who will lament the terminal abrogation of human right?. Or have we reached a moment in time when we must revert to Matthew 5:30: "If thy right hand is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee - for it is better for thee that one of thy members should be lost than that thy whole body should go into hell."

Are we prepared to sacrifice the greater good for the heartless and reckless behaviour of a few miscreants who see nothing sacred in life? Will we allow the masses to become sacrificial lambs to satisfy puritanical human rights orthodoxy?

Most of us know somebody who has come face-to-face with a gunman's weapon. Some of us were lucky to escape the bullets, while others ended up six feet under. This brings me to the crux of this reasoning.

Our security forces have a mandate, which says: 'Bring in the guns'. It is time we accept the fact that the gun should not be the main target in stemming the murders. The major concern must be the bullets. Guns are easily available for hire for a day or a night but a bullet has a limited shelf life. What or who is the source of the bullets that provide fire for the rented gun?

In the early days of the proliferation of guns, one whole container of "boolets" (according to the Cuban Ambassador at the time) was found on the wharf. The find was explained by saying it was 'in transit to Cuba'. Is it that today's intelligence forces have become so lazy and obsolete that we cannot identify the source of the "boolets"? Somebody is making a killing by running a bullet supermarket. Have we been looking in the wrong places while we chase the guns?

Years ago, New York City was a murder playground until Rudy Giuliani became the mayor on January 1, 1994. Three months into his term, Giuliani said that:

"Freedom does not mean that people can do anything they want."

He introduced a policy of "zero tolerance". It did not take long to make the streets of New York City relatively safe again. A former minister of Government called for divine intervention. Another is now relying on his obeahman uncle to save us.

In dancehall parlance, "Time come for us to wheel and come again". Do we need a killing of more prominent citizens like Leo Henry, Paul Fitzritson, or Roy McGann for Government to move with alacrity and be decisive in practising what is written in Matthew 5:30? We continue to dilly-dally while the west is burning. This time, the IMF or the obeahman cannot save us. Who has the balls to bell the cat?